Friday, November 7, 2008

Reasons for project failure

During the past 15 years, i have worked on various projects. I must say that some projects are not as successful as expected.

Here are most common reasons for project fail:

Project Initiation & Planning Issues
  • Unclear or unconvincing business case
  • Insufficient or non-existent approval process
  • Poor definition of project scope and objectives
  • Insufficient time or money given to project
  • Lack of business ownership and accountability
  • Insufficient and/or over-optimistic planning
  • Poor estimating
  • Long or unrealistic timescales; forcing project end dates despite best estimates
Lack of thoroughness and diligence in the project startup phases

Technical & Requirements Issues

  • Lack of user involvement (resulting in expectation issues)
Product owner unclear or consistently not available
Scope creep; lack of adequate change control
Poor or no requirements definition; incomplete or changing requirements
Wrong or inappropriate technology choices
Unfamiliar or changing technologies; lack of required technical skills
Integration problems during implementation
Poor or insufficient testing before go-live
Lack of QA for key deliverables
Long and unpredictable bug fixing phase at end of project

Stakeholder Management & Team Issues

* Insufficient attention to stakeholders and their needs; failure to manage expectations
* Lack of senior management/executive support; project sponsors not 100% committed to the objectives; lack understanding of the project and not actively involved
* Inadequate visibility of project status
* Denial adopted in preference to hard truths
* People not dedicated to project; trying to balance too many different priorities
* Project team members lack experience and do not have the required skills
* Team lacks authority or decision making ability
* Poor collaboration, communication and teamwork

Project Management Issues

* No project management best practices
* Weak ongoing management; inadequately trained or inexperienced project managers
* Inadequate tracking and reporting; not reviewing progress regularly or diligently enough
* Ineffective time and cost management
* Lack of leadership and/or communication skills

Agile Process can cure some of the problems, but not all